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Premier League Team Of The Week – Gameweek 18

Chelsea-TOTW

See who have made our Team of the Week from an exciting eighteenth gameweek in the Premier League. Chelsea and Liverpool provide not one, two or three but four players each, while there is one each from Manchester City, Manchester United and Reading.

Adam Federici (Reading)

Aston Villa’s Brad Guzan was one of the top performers of the week as he was virtually playing alone against Chelsea, but on a matter of principle I just couldn’t select a keeper who conceded eight goals in a match and so I went with Federici. The Reading goalie frustrated the Premier League champions Manchester City for 90 minutes and was very unlucky to concede a stoppage time goal in Saturday’s 1-0 defeat at the Etihad Stadium.

Pablo Zabaleta (Manchester City)

Manchester City have yet to hit top gear but they still remain very much in the hunt to retain their Premier League title. It is fair to say that not everyone at City is pulling their weight at the moment but it would be harsh if its said the same about Pablo Zabaleta. The right-back has been in terrific form and if it wasn’t for his persistence – and cross for Gareth Barry’s winning goal – City would not have eked out Saturday’s late win.

Branislav Ivanovic (Chelsea)

The Serbian was given one of the toughest jobs of the weekend – mark the inform Christian Benteke. He and Gary Cahill combined well to nullify the Belgian’s threat very effectively, recording a clean sheet in the 8-0 thrashing of Aston Villa on Sunday. He even managed to increase his goal tally for the season with a poacher’s goal after Cahill’s shot was palmed his way.

Martin Skrtel (Liverpool)

To be honest, Saturday’s action Premier League action fell dull until the late kick-off between Liverpool and Fulham at Anfield. The goal which brought the weekend to life was just superb from defender Martin Skrtel. A nice touch to control the ball before unleashing an unstoppable volley past Mark Schwarzer to open the floodgates for the Reds on their way to a 4-0 win over the Cottagers.

Patrice Evra (Manchester United)

Its been a funny season for Manchester United at the back. Their defenders are leaking goals but at the same time scoring at the other end of the pitch. Evra is a perfect example of this during Sunday’s 1-1 draw with Swansea. The Frenchman did superbly well to score with a header from a Robin van Persie corner but then was caught out of position as Michu equalised for the Swans.

David Luiz (Chelsea)

Chelsea may have scored eight against Aston Villa, but none was better than David Luiz’s freekick. It was very similar to how Didier Drogba used to hit them for the Blues. It was not only the Brazilian’s goal which earns him a place in the Team of the Week. Played just in front of the back-four, Luiz looked right at home in the Obi Mikel role and the African must surely be a worried man now.

Ramires (Chelsea)

The Brazilian did not even start the game but yet he makes our Team of the Week. The midfielder, who is not known for his goal scoring, came on in the second half for Frank Lampard in Chelsea’s thrashing of Aston Villa on Sunday, and ended the match as one of the star performers and became the only player to score more than once in that match. He scored the Blues’s fifth and eighth goal of the night.

Stewart Downing (Liverpool)

Downing makes the Premier League Team for the first time ever. Perhaps this is what the Mayans were referring to? Back in his regular role of a winger, the former Aston Villa wide man put in an excellent performance in Liverpool’s easy win on Saturday. He set Steven Gerrard for the hosts’ second goal of the night and scored one himself in the second half. His first assist and goal in the Premier League since joining the Reds last season.

Steven Gerrard (Liverpool)

Competition in midfield is tough this week given Chelsea’s hammering of Aston Villa but there was no chance of leaving Steven Gerrard out. The Liverpool skipper has been in patchy form this season as he adjusts to Brendan Rodgers’ style of play. However, we saw the Gerrard of the old as the Liverpool legend provided two assists for his teammates, but also got his own name on the score sheet too.

Eden Hazard (Cheslea)

After a blistering start to life in the Premier League, Eden Hazard has positively cooled off. Any worries should be abated now, though, as the Belgian wizard ran riot on The Blues’ left flank against Aston Villa. His holding midfield duo controlled the game and were able to find him regularly, so he had ample opportunities to shine. He also got himself on score sheet by scoring his side’s seventh goal of the night.

Luis Suarez (Liverpool)

Suarez was back to his best on Saturday. The Uruguayan bagged the final goal of four against Fulham and it was a perfect reward for his efforts all game long. Even though the goal came very late and technically unimportant at the stage of a comprehensive rout, it was important for Liverpool’s only injury free senior striker to get back among the goals after failing to score for more than a month.

TOTW GW 18

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Premier League Team Of The Week – Gameweek 14

Hernandez-Routledge-TOTW

See who have made our Team of the Week from an exciting fourteenth gameweek in the Premier League. Everton and Swansea City provide two players each, while there is one each from Aston Villa, Manchester City, Manchester United, Queens Park Rangers, Stoke City, Sunderland and Tottenham Hotspur.

Simon Mignolet (Sunderland)

The Belgium shot-stopper put in a positive display – which showed he had recovered from error against West Brom at the weekend – to earn himself and his team a much needed clean-sheet. He was not regularly tested by the QPR forwards, but was more than ready when called upon and made total of six saves during the game on Tuesday.

Rafael (Manchester United)

Being a Manchester United fan, I am loving to see the progress the young Brazilian has made this season. He has come of age and was once again at his best, as he was alert to the early threat of Matt Jarvis, making a number of key interceptions. Going forward, he put in a couple of dangerous crosses and was a threat to deal with for the West Ham defence.

Ryan Nelsen (Queens Park Rangers)

QPR will need some strong characters in the dressing room and on the pitch to get them out of this tricky hole at the foot of the table, and the New Zealand international is one of those. Having signed him while at Tottenham in February, Harry Redknapp knows Nelsen has those qualities and the defender was rock solid in the heart of the defence  in their clean-sheet at Sunderland on Tuesday.

Matija Nastasic (Manchester City)

Many eyebrows were raised when Roberto Mancini decided to break up the successful partnership of Vincent Kompany and Joleon Lescott at heart of the City defence. But the doubts have given way to nods of approval as the young Serbian once again impressed alongside the skipper and was solid at the back in the City’s 2-0 win at Wigan on Wednesday.

Leighton Baines (Everton)

The Everton left-back has been in the form of his life this season as he put in another superb display in the 1-1 draw against Arsenal at Goodison Park. The marauding full-back provided a constant outlet for his side on left and linked up with Steven Pienaar to devastating effects at times which caused the Gunners some trouble at the back.

Pablo Hernandez (Swansea City)

Pablo Hernandez has made his name as a right-winger for Valencia in the La Liga, but in Swansea’s impressive win over high-flying West Brom on Wednesday, the Spaniard did much of his best work on the left flank. Hernandez was a class apart during a first half performance that saw the Swans go 3-0 up within 40 minutes and he was involved in all the three goals.

Wayne Routledge (Swansea City)

Another player who has been impressive alongside Michu and Pablo Hernandez for the Swans this season has to be Wayne Routledge. The former Newcastle man was at his very best in the win over West Brom. He scored twice with two superb finishes and the midfielder popped up virtually in every attacking position as he caused havoc to the Baggies defence.

Marouane Fellaini (Everton)

The big Belgian returned from suspension and played a huge part in his side’s 1-1 draw at home on Wednesday. Fellaini epitomised all that was good about hard-working Everton, but also brought a significant amount of quality too. His curling effort in the first half brought the Toffees back on level terms after Theo Walcott had given Arsenal an early lead.

Gareth Bale (Tottenham Hotspur)

It takes something special to make it in the Team Of The Week after scoring such an own goal and that’s exactly what the Welshman did in the 2-1 win over Liverpool at White Hart Lane. Bale’s driving run and delicious delivery led to Aaron Lennon’s opener within ten minutes before he doubled the lead with a brilliant free-kick.

Cameron Jerome (Stoke City)

We have seen many super-subs this season and Jerome was the latest of the lot. He came on in the 68th minute against Newcastle and completely turned the game on it’s head. The former Birmingham man used his pace to trouble the full-backs and delivered a perfect cross for Jonathan Walters to equalise. Then the forward repaid the faith shown in him by Tony Pulis as he won the game with a late strike.

Christian Benteke (Aston Villa)

The Belgium striker has been keeping Darren Bent out of the team with his superb performances and on Tuesday night against Reading, he again showed why he deserves to start ahead of the England international. Benteke saw a superb chance denied by Adam Federici in the first half and was superb as a target-man throughout the game before scoring the late winner.

TOTW GW 14

Premier League Team Of The Week – Gameweek 7

See who have made our Team of the Week from an exciting seventh weekend in the Premier League. Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester United have provided two players each, while there is one each from Manchester City, Reading, Southampton, West Brom and Wigan.

Alex McCarthy (Reading)

The young stopper has made the number one jersey his own in the absence of the injured Adam Federici and he continued to shine during the Royal’s 2-2 draw at Swansea. McCarthy made eight superb saves to deny Swans from taking the lead, but couldn’t prevent the Royals throwing away a two-goal lead.

Branislav Ivanovic (Chelsea)

The Serbian is having one of his best seasons at Stamford Bridge and again on Saturday he was at his very best. He crossed in for Fernando Torres to score Chelsea’s second of the game and then he himself volleyed in towards the end of the game – Chelsea’s fourth – which wrapped up the game for the leaders. The right-back has now scored the same number of league goals as Fernando Torres.

Jose Fonte (Southampton)

Fonte rescued the Saints from defeat at home against Fulham with a last-minute goal which sealed a 2-2 draw at the St Mary’s. The Portuguese had earlier made his mark on the match by scoring Southampton’s opening goal after just four minutes, when he forced home Adam Lallana’s corner.

Jonny Evans (Manchester United) 

The United defence has been criticized a lot this season, but on Sunday they were at their best and kept a clean sheet against Newcastle at St James’ Park. Evans was particularly the star of back four, as he didnt only keep Papiss Cisse (later Shola Ameobi) and Demba Ba quiet for the whole game but also opened the scoring for the Red Devils early in the game with a powerful header from a Robin van Persie corner.

Aleksandar Kolarov (Manchester City) 

The Serbian full-back was City’s main man as they registered a comfortable 3-0 win over Sunderland on Saturday. Kolarov put his team in the lead after just four minutes with a brilliant free-kick. Later on, in the second half he crossed in for Sergio Aguero to score City’s second and then played a role in James Milner’s goal – City’s third – late in the game.

Santi Cazorla (Arsenal)

Arsenal’s summer signing again showed his true class as he pulled the strings in midfield in the Gunners’ 3-1 win over West Ham. The Spaniard troubled the hosts with his passing and capped a commanding display by adding the Gunners’ third goal, curling home a wonderful strike from 25 yards.

Juan Mata (Chelsea)

The Spaniard joins his Chelsea teammate Ivanovic in this team. Mata put in another intelligent display and was undoubtedly the top performer for the Blues in the 4-1 win over Norwich at home. He didn’t get on the score-sheet but he played a role in three out of the four goals they scored and was at the heart of every Chelsea attack.

James Morrison (West Brom)

Morrison is a surprise inclusion in this week’s Team of the Week but the Baggies midfielder played a key role in helping his team win against QPR on Saturday.  He showed some great determination in scoring West Brom’s opener after just five minutes and didn’t fade at all as the game progressed.

Wayne Rooney (Manchester United)

The England and Manchester United striker played at the top of United’s new midfield diamond and was at his best. He didn’t find back of the net but put in a tireless shift and was often the link between the attack and the midfield. He put in one of his best performances of the season and reminded everyone how a good a player he is even if he isn’t scoring goals.

Arouna Kone (Wigan Athletic)

Scoring twice against a disciplined Everton side is not at all an easy thing to do and the Ivorian did that on Saturday. He tormented the Toffees back four for 90 minutes and was denied his first Premier League hat-trick only by some great defending. One of the bargain buys of the season.

Olivier Giroud (Arsenal)

The France international striker makes his debut in our Team of the Week after a fine display at Upton Park, which included a goal – his first in the league – and an assist. He equalised for the Gunners in the first half with an instinctive finish at the near post and then set up Theo Walcott to score Arsenal’s second of the game.

Vidic Out For Eight Weeks – Key Fixtures He Will Miss And Possible Replacements

Manchester United have confirmed their captain Nemanja Vidic will miss eight weeks of football following knee surgery. The injury was discovered after the defender was forced to miss his team’s victory over Liverpool.

A statement on the club’s official site read:

“Nemanja Vidic has had a meniscus operation on his right knee and will be out for around eight weeks.

“Sir Alex, as a precautionary measure, rested Vidic at the weekend, after he complained of tightness in his knee, however, further medical investigation revealed the underlying problem.

“The central defender was operated on this week and will be sidelined for about eight weeks.”

This news comes in as a bitter disappointment for Sir Alex Ferguson, who will once again be without his top defender and captain for another two months, after the Serbian missed the final five months of the last season with a ruptured cruciate ligament in the same knee. The Manchester United boss is already without defenders Chris Smalling and Phil Jones, while like always for the past couple of season Rio Ferdinand’s fitness remains a concern.

Key Fixtures Vidic Will Miss

United welcome Andre Villas-Boas’ Tottenham to Old Trafford next in the Premier League this weekend, followed by a difficult trip to Newcastle. The Serbian is also scheduled to miss games against Chelsea (A) and Arsenal (H), but could make his comeback against the Premier League champions and the noisy neighbours Manchester City in the first Manchester derby of the season at the Etihad Stadium.

In the Champions League, the fans can expect the United skipper to sit out against Cluj in their final group game at Old Trafford. While he is certain to miss the away trips to Galatasaray and Cluj, as well as both the games against Braga.

Here is the list of fixtures, he is schedules to miss..

26-09 – League Cup – Newcastle (H)
29-09 – Premier League – Tottenham (H)
02-10 – Champions League – Cluj (A)
07-10 – Premier League – Newcastle (A)
20-10 – Premier League – Stoke (H)
23-10 – Champions League – Braga (H)
28-10 – Premier League – Chelsea (A)
31-10 – League Cup – Fourth Round
03-11 – Premier League – Arsenal (H)
07-11 – Champions League – Braga (A)
10-11 – Premier League – Aston Villa (A)
17-11 – Premier League – Norwich (H)
20-11 – Champions League – Galatasaray (A)
24-11 – Premier League – QPR (H)

Who Will Replace Him?

Rio Ferdinand and Jonny Evans will have a huge role to play now – like they did in the second half of the last season. Michael Carrick can also play in the centre-back position like he did at the start of the season against Everton and Fulham, but his performances were not up to the mark and didn’t look comfortable at all. Phil Jones and Chris Smalling both are out since the start of the season and are expected to return after the international break in October. They both may be available for the home game against Stoke City. Ferguson has plenty of options available in the Under-21s squad – Scott Wootton, Michael Keane, Federic Veseli – but all of them lack the experience of playing in the Premier League and playing them against the big teams would be a huge gamble.

Options remain limited for the United boss and if Ferdinand or Evans were to sustain a long term injury in the near future, the Red Devils will be severely short of replacements in the heart of the defence. With key clashes just around the corner, the Old Trafford faithful will be hoping their captain a quick recovery.

Premier League Team Of The Week – Gameweek 1

Have a look who made our Team of the Week from the a thrilling opening round of Premier League matches. Five debutants are included in the team as Cuellar, Cazorla, Michu, Hazard and Petric all impress.

David De Gea (Manchester United)
The young Spanish shot-stopper produced some stunning saves to keep his side in the game during the first half – especially from a Leighton Baines freekick – but couldn’t do nothing about Fellaini header.

Branislav Ivanovic (Chelsea)
The Serbian is not a regular goal scorer for the Blues, but he scored the opener against Wigan and the finished off the scoring against Reading in the midweek. Defensively he was very good, showing good awareness to clear danger and also making well time tackles to stop the opposition getting in on goal.

Phil Jagielka (Everton)
The Englishman put in a performance of real quality. He was brilliant throughout the game and showed brilliant anticipation against an unpredictable and strong United forward line. At the same time he was dominant in the air and also made a couple of brilliant last-dich tackles.

Carlos Cuellar (Sunderland)
The Spaniard settled in well in the heart of the Sunderland defence straightaway and kept Lukas Podolski at bay for the whole game with the help of his stylish brand of defending.

Liam Ridgewell (West Brom)
The former Birmingham City and Aston Villa man put in an impressive display against the Reds. Gave Downing a hard time by showing him onto his weaker right foot and encouraging him to cross. Assisted in his team’s third goal by setting up for Romelu Lukaku.

Nathan Dyer (Swansea)
The Englishman put in a great performance against a weak QPR defence by bagging a brace for himself. First one being a cool finish after being put through one-on-one by Routledge and then an a great piece of technique to bring down Agustien’s floated pass before slotting home his second.

Marouane Fellaini (Everton)
The Belgium international played just behind the striker and made his physical presence felt by winning almost everything in the air and showing great feet to bamboozle United’s defence. Scored the winner with a towering header.

Santi Cazorla (Arsenal)
The Spanish international, who traveled from Puerto Rico, was the only spark for the Gunners in their opening game. The former Malaga man constantly got himself into probbing positions and also had couple of efforts on target but couldn’t break the deadlock.

Michu (Swansea)
The Spaniard signed for just £2m in the summer from Rayo Vallecano made a dream debut for the Swans. It looks like he can carry his form of last season into the new season and in a new league. His first goal may have been because of a goalkeeping error, his second was a stunner. Unlucky not to get his hat-trick, but certainly would be more than please with his display.

Eden Hazard (Chelsea)
The Belgium whizard has settled into life in the Premier League with ease by putting two consecutive Man of the Match displays. The former Lille man has five assist – including two penalties – to his name in two matches and has been a constant threat to the opposition with his pace and trickery. Surely a star in the making if he can do this on a regular basis.

Mladen Petric (Fulham)
The Croatian international made a very good impression in his first 45 minutes in the Premier League for his new club, by gabbing a brace. Scored a debut goal as his header did cross the line before it was cleared and scored the second with a screamer from 30 yards. Also set up the fourth goal for Kacaniklic with his last touch of the game.

Tottenham Hotspur’s Potential Summer 2012 Transfer Targets

Tottenham Hotspur had a very indifferent season last term. They started the season in fine form and around December they looked like serious title contenders but since January their form dipped and they ended the season in 4th place.

This summer, there have been changes at White Hart Lane with Harry Redknapp being sacked for failing to secure a place in the Champions League and replaced by the former Chelsea boss Andre Villas-Boas. Spurs have already completed the signings of the impressive midfielder Gylfi Sigurdsson, the young Zeki Fryers and the strong defender Jan Vertonghen, but the former Porto boss expected to add some more new names to his squad with the goalkeeper, midfield and striker positions needing strengthening. Here are Tottenham’s potential transfer targets for the summer..

HUGO LLORIS – LYON (GOALKEEPER)

Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas has revealed that the club are ready to listen to offers for the France skipper Hugo Lloris, who is valued around €20m. With Brad Friedel in his early 40s, Lloris would be a great signing for Spurs and would be a great long-term option. If reports are to be believed, Tottenham have already made a bid for the French stopper but they are expected to face some tough competition from a host of European clubs like Arsenal, Liverpool and AC Milan.

KASPER SCHMEICHEL – LEICESTER CITY (GOALKEEPER)

Spurs have had a close eye on the Denmark international since the end of last season. Peter Schmeichel, the son of the great Manchester United legend Peter, has had good season with Leicester City in the nPower Championship. With Friedel in his 40s, Cudicini not way behind him at 38 years and Gomes expected to leave, Spurs will surely do with a young reserve keeper in their squad. The 26-year-old has attracted interest from many English clubs but a move to White Hart Lane may be too hard to resist.

OSCAR – INTERNACIONAL (MIDFIELDER)

The young Internacional playmaker is said to be high on Tottenham shopping list this summer as they search for a replacement for Luka Modric, who is reportedly on his way to Real Madrid. Oscar has been very impressive for Brazilian giants and is also a regular part of Brazil national team. The 20-year-old, who is rated around £25m, has attracted interest from many top European clubs including Chelsea. According to the reports, Spurs and Chelsea have both launched a bid for the Brazilian and the Blues are said to be favourites to sign him.

JOAO MOUTINHO – FC PORTO (MIDFIELDER)

Moutinho has attracted a lot of interest from the Premier League this summer after some putting in some impressive displays for Portugal at the Euros. The £25m rated midfielder has been linked with a move to White Hart Lane since arrival of Villas-Boas as both of them worked together at Porto. With Modric expected to leave for Real Madrid, Moutinho is a perfect replacement for the Croatian but Spurs will have to battle with the likes of Manchester United and Chelsea to bring the Portuguese to White Hart Lane.

ALAN DZAGOEV – CSKA MOSCOW (MIDFIELDER)

The 22-year-old had an outstanding UEFA EURO 2012 in Poland/Ukraine and was the join top goalscorer with three goals. The Russian international, who can play anywhere behind the striker, is valued at £13m by CSKA but with just six-months left on his contract,  the Russians may be forced to accept a lower asking price or lose him for nothing. With Modric destined to leave this summer, Dzagoev could be cheaper option to replace the Croatian.

MILOS KRASIC – JUVENTUS (MIDFIELDER)

The Serbian winger, who caught everyone’s attention with his performances for CSKA Moscow in the Champions League couple of season, is not needed anymore at Juventus. Krasic was subjected to a lot of interest in January but a move away from Turin never materialized. Spurs are reportedly to be still interested in the 28-year-old, who has also interested the likes of Liverpool and Chelsea as they look to solve their wide problems. Rated at around £10m, Krasic would be a real bargain  in comparison to other players of similar ability.

DANIEL STURRIDGE – CHELSEA (STRIKER)

The Chelsea striker is said to be unhappy at the lack of first team opportunities at Chelsea since the departure of Andre Villas-Boas. With Emmanuel Adebayor with his parent club Manchester City and Louis Saha released, Villas-Boas has just one striker in his senior squad in the form of Jermain Defoe. With Defoe out of favour and past his peak, the former Chelsea boss might try to sign the 22-year-old pacey forward – who can also play on the wings – but will face some tough competition for his signature from Arsenal and Liverpool, who have also expressed their interest in him.

LEANDRO DAMIAO – INTERNACIONAL (STRIKER)

Oscar is not the only Internacional player linked with Tottenham this summer, star striker Leandro Damiao is said to be also one of Spurs’ top transfer target. With the arrival of Diego Forlan at the club and Internacional needing to cut down their high wage bill, Damiao is expected to leave Brazil for Europe sooner than later. With Spurs needing to buy some new strikers this summer, the 22-year-old would be a great addition to squad but they will need to act fast and agree a deal before the Olympics, as his price may sour up if he has a good tournament in London.

DEMBA BA – NEWCASTLE UNITED (STRIKER)

With Tottenham in need of some serious striking reinforcements, the Newcastle United forward – Demba Ba is another name linked to Tottenham this summer. The Senegal international had a fantastic start to last season and went on to score 16 goals in 36 matches in total. With the 27-year-old available for just £7m till the end of July, due to a clause in his contract, Spurs are expected to face some stiff competition from a host of Premier League clubs including the likes of Liverpool, Arsenal and Manchester United.

GIUSEPPE ROSSI – VILLARREAL (STRIKER)

The former Manchester United forward is a player who has been on Tottenham wish-list for many years now. With Adebayor back with Manchester City and too expensive to buy on a permanent deal, Rossi could be a good solution to the problem up front. The Italian has been in good goal scoring form since joining Villarreal in 2008 and could be available for as less as £15m since the Spanish club are relegated and are struggling with debts.

LOIC REMY – MARSEILLE (STRIKER)

Remy was one of the top transfer targets of Tottenham when Harry Redknapp was in charge of the club. The France international has expressed his desire to play for the White Hart Lane club despite the lack of Champions League football. The 26-year-old who is rated around £20m and has scored 14 goals for Marseille this past season, would be a very good addition to squad but it look like the new boss – Andre Villas-Boas doesn’t seem interested in him.

EMMANUEL ADEBAYOR – MANCHESTER CITY (STRIKER)

Adebayor spent the last season on loan at White Hart Lane, where he scored 17 goals in 33 Premier League matches. City are looking to reduce their wage bill because of the new Financial Fair Play Rules and the Togo international is most likely to be sold. According to the papers in UK, Spurs are very close to signing the former Arsenal forward on a permanent basis and the fee is reported to be in the region of £6m. If the reports are true then Adebayor will be a great signing for the club, keeping in mind his success last season.